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In recent years, the need to score a PG-13 rating has resulted in the majority of comedies becoming as watered down as the drinks in cheap bars. Fortunately, THE HANGOVER ($36) delivers undiluted laughter, and thus proves that R-rated comedies can turn a really healthy profit- something that will hopefully encourage Hollywood to produce more of the same type of "take no prisoners" comedies. Of course, letís hope they donít start cranking out cheap knockoffs, as there is nothing less funny (or painful to watch) than a poorly conceived comedy, where the jokes fall flat. Getting back to THE HANGOVER, it milks a familiar situation for all its worth- namely a Las Vegas bachelor party the gets a little out of control. The premise of THE HANGOVER follows a groom-to-be named Doug (Justin Bartha) on a road trip to Las Vegas, along with his buddies Phil (Bradley Cooper) and Stu (Ed Helms), as well as his slightly odd future brother-in-law Alan (Zach Galifianakis).

An evening on the town begins with a toast on the roof of the Caesars Palace Hotel and CasinoÖ then cuts to the aftermath, as three of our revelers awakening in their trashed hotel villa- with absolutely no memory of what happened the night before. Quickly realizing that the groom has gone missing, Phil, Stu and Alan search the villa for clues to Dougís whereabouts. However, all they are able to discover is a live tiger in the bathroom, a baby is in the closet, Phil wearing a hospital bracelet and the fact that Stu is somehow now missing a tooth. Things get worse when they go outside and discover a missing mattress from their villa impaled on one of the hotelís statuesÖ however, the real kicker is when the hotel valet drives up in the stolen police cruiser that the boys checked the night before. Wanting to retrace their steps and find their missing friend leads our three hung over heroes on one heck of a hilarious Las Vegas odyssey. The cast of THE HANGOVER also features Heather Graham, Sasha Barrese, Jeffrey Tambor, Ken Jeong, Rachael Harris, Mike Tyson, Mike Epps, Jernard Burks, Rob Riggle, Cleo King, Bryan Callen and Matt Walsh.

Warner Home Video has made THE HANGOVER available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the VC-1 codec. While I donít think anyone will be reaching for THE HANGOVER to use as a demo disc, there isnít anything to fault the presentation either. Plain and simple, THE HANGOVER is an attractive looking comedy that has been given a highly pleasing 1080p presentation on Blu-ray. The image is sharp, nicely defined and produces a good deal of depth and dimensionality. Fine details stand out quite well, plus the picture displays good texturing. Some mild softness creeps in here and there, but it doesnít diminish the presentation in any way. Colors appear nicely saturated throughout, while still looking wholly natural. Additionally, flesh tones coming across in a very appealing manner. Blacks are deep, whites are clean, plus the contrast and shadow detail are very good. The elements from which THE HANGOVER has been mastered appear virtually flawless. A fine sheen of grain is noticeable throughout, which gives the presentation a film like quality. Note: Both the Theatrical Version and Unrated Version of the film are present on the Blu-ray and appear identical.

THE HANGOVER is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. No surprises here, THE HANGOVER comes equipped with a fairly standard talky comedy mix. That being the case, the majority of the sound is localized front and center. Of course, the outlying channels do engage for occasional active sound effects, but only when the material requires. Much of what emanates from the surround channels is of an environmental/ambient nature. Musical fill also finds its way to the rear channels. As expected, the lossless encode bolsters the musical component, as well as the sound effects. As for the bass channel, it adds some weight, but the material doesnít make many demands on oneís subwoofer. Dialogue is nicely recorded and is always easy to understand. English, French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 channel tracks are also encoded onto the disc, as are English, French and Spanish subtitles.

The interactive menus allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the extras. Starting things is a Bonus View picture-in-picture Video Commentary on the Theatrical Version that features director Todd Phillips, plus actors Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis and Ed Helms (requires a Profile 1.1 player). Featurettes and other programs include: Map Of Destruction, The Madness Of Ken Jeong, Action Mash-Up, Three Best Friends Song and The Dan Band! performing the song Fame. One Hundred New Pictures From The Missing Camera and a Gag Reel close out the standard extras. THE HANGOVER is also BD-Live enabled (requires a Profile 2.0 player). A Digital Copy of the film is also provided.

THE HANGOVER is one heck of a funny movie that delivers undiluted laughter. The Blu-ray delivers great visuals and solid audio. Definitely recommended.



The Hangover (Unrated Edition) [Blu-ray] (2009)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2009 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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